Shikhar Dhawan scored an unbeaten century to help Delhi overhaul a challenging target of 270 runs set by Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Roshanara Club ground here on Tuesday.
Chasing such a total on a seamer-friendly pitch on the last day was never an easy task for the home team, which desperately needed an outright win to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinal spot. Dhawan’s ‘matured’ knock propelled Delhi to a seven-wicket win.
Delhi, which gathered six points from this outing, climbed to the third place in the table with a total of 17 from seven matches and would travel to Nagpur to take on Vidarbha in its last league engagement.
It was not easy for a strokeplayer like Dhawan to curtail his natural instincts and adapt to the situation. He did just that, symbolising Delhi’s composed approach, to inspire his fellow batsmen and accomplish a difficult task.
There was no tension in the home team even as Unmukt Chand played an unwarranted cut early in the innings and the resultant inside edge hit the stumps.
Dhawan (116, 194b, 12x4, 1x6) and Mohit Sharma (51, 91b, 9x4) cut out the flashy shots. They had luck on their side as the duo survived several shouts for lbw.
Mohit, who unleashed some fine pull shots in his second half-century, garnered valuable 94 runs with his skipper for the second wicket.
Maharashtra captain Rohit Motwani rotated his bowlers and removed Mohit just before the lunch break.
The turning point came in the post-lunch session. Mithun Manhas (51, 40b, 5x4, 3x6) suddenly switched gears and hammered the bowlers all over the park. The seasoned batsman, showing his good touch, was severe against Nikit Dhumal. Manhas hit the debutant for two sixes and a four in consecutive balls.
Dhawan, who prospered in the company of Manhas, played some fluent strokes. The 83-run third-wicket stand between the two dictated the course of the match.
Dhawan, dropped on 91, reached his 16th first class century with a single off Chirag Khurana.
On his fine effort, Dhawan said, “It reminded me of my match against Railways (getting out to a poor shot) two seasons ago at the same ground.” Delhi had lost then and failed to make it to the next stage. “I am happy that I played with maturity today and took the team to victory.”
Maharashtra — 1st innings: 196.
Delhi — 1st innings: 193.
Maharashtra — 2nd innings: 266.
Delhi — 2nd innings: Shikhar Dhawan (not out) 116, Unmukt Chand b Mundhe 2, Mohit Sharma lbw b Fallah 51, Mithun Manhas c Bawne b Mundhe 51, Vaibhav Rawal (not out) 35, Extras (b-9, lb-1, nb-2, wd-6): 18, Total (for three wkts. in 65.3 overs): 273.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-99, 3-182.
Maharashtra bowling: Fallah 21-3-76-1, Mundhe 20-4-61-2, Sanklecha 9-0-30-0, Dhumal 8-1-58-0, Khurana 4-0-20-0, Atitkar 3.3-0-18-0.